Croque Madame (法式三明治)

My favorite dish on our recent cruise to Alaska was Croque Madame, a French sandwich which has slices of Black Forest Ham on toasted bread, smothered with creamy Bechamel sauce with grated Gruyere cheese and top with one sunny side up egg. Gruyere cheese, although at $16.99 a pound (New Seasons Market), is a must in this dish. Additionally, what makes this recipe extra special is the Bechamel sauce made from butter, flour and milk.

Recipe was adapted from William Sonoma.

Can you guess what is the difference between a Croque Madame and a Croque Monsieur?

Answer: Croque Monsieur has the same ingredients as Croque Madame except the egg, of course. According to Wikipedia, the name is based on the verb croquer (“to crunch” or “to bite hungrily”).

Since I published this article, I did some more shopping and research on Croque Madame.

Trader Joes sells Gruyere cheese at a cheaper price than New Seasons Market.

Some recipes will call for Mornay sauce, instead of Bechamel sauce. I looked it up in the dictionary and found the definitions for both of these sauces. Bechamel sauce is a white sauce of butter, flour, and milk or cream. Mornay sauce is onion-flavored creamy cheese sauce (white sauce with grated cheese) with egg yolk and more grated cheese.

Here’s an interesting recipe from CNN food central that has the addition of beer in the Mornay sauce.

A few days ago, I watched Paula Dean (one of my favorite TV celebs Mommie Cooks) making Croque Madame on the Food Network. She made this French flair ham and cheese sandwich with mayonnaise instead of the Bechamel sauce, much simpler but equally delicious, I’m sure.

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